By Eric J. Hall
If you are helping care for a family member or loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, then chances are you are going to want to do whatever you can in order to make sure this individual is as healthy as possible while they deal with this difficult condition. While there are a number of ways that caregivers can help their loved ones with Alzheimer’s, one of the best things that you can do for an individual with Alzheimer’s is make sure they are eating a healthy diet.
Meal preparation is often a big part of Alzheimer’s caregiving, and now new information is available on what types of healthy foods can actually benefit those with Alzheimer’s. A new diet, known by many as the “Mind Diet” has proven to be extremely helpful in those with Alzheimer’s, dementia and related conditions.
This type of diet is an offshoot of the Mediterranean diet and includes lots of greens, legumes, berries, healthy fats and is low in salt and animal fats. Studies have not only found that this type of diet can slow down the progression in individuals with dementia, but they have found that by consistently eating this type of healthy diet, adult women are actually less likely to develop Alzheimer’s.
If you are helping a senior with Alzheimer’s and want to start implementing this diet, here are some tips on how to cook a healthy “Mind Diet” based meal plan.
- Any diet should feature a large portion of fruits, vegetables, whole-grains and legumes
- Meat should be limited as much as possible
- This diet can include a moderate amount of fish, but it should include healthy fishes like salmon
- Dairy is allowed in the diet in moderation, although some people prefer to remove dairy and replace it with substitutes such as almond milk and coconut milk
- In this diet, olive oil is one of the main sources of dietary fat. Nuts and avocados are other great sources of fat.
- Meals should be well-balanced and not overly restrictive. “Cheats” are allowed in moderation.
- One of the main focuses of this diet should be on the quality of the foods consumed. Chicken should be free-range, fruits and vegetables should be organic, eggs should be cage-free and any meats should be grass-fed.
- Green leafy vegetables are some of the most important elements of this diet. Try to include at least six servings of these vegetables per week.
- Add chicken or turkey to the meal twice a week. It should be grilled not fried.
- Limit cheese, butter, fried food, cheese and sweets to just once a week.
Keep these tips in mind when helping a loved one stick to the “Mind Diet.” Making the extra effort to ensure that any individual with Alzheimer’s is staying as healthy as they can. Implementing a healthy diet like this is often easier than it seems and it can make a tremendous difference in your loved one’s overall quality of life during this difficult time.